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Stanford Report, October 27, 1999

Facilities overhaul approved for School of Medicine

BY RUTHANN RICHTER

The university's Board of Trustees has endorsed a $185-million, five-year plan to build a new medical and graduate education building, overhaul Lane Library and renovate existing research space in the Grant, Lane and Alway buildings.

With the trustees' approval in hand, university President Gerhard Casper and medical school Dean Eugene Bauer, MD, now are interviewing architects for the project and hope to have a conceptual design ready by December, said David O'Brien, director of facilities and planning services for the school. Construction will be phased in over five years, with the first phase -- installation of plumbing, electrical systems and other infrastructure -- to start next summer, O'Brien said.

"We're doing this because we need to make an investment in educational and instructional facilities," said Michael Hindery, senior associate dean for finance and administration. "Many of our buildings are at the end of their useful life span. Forty years is about what you get out of a building. The project may be disruptive in the short term, but it will be for everyone's benefit in the long term."

The centerpiece of the project is the construction of a new education building on the site of the aging Edwards Building, which came to life as part of the school's move from San Francisco to Palo Alto in 1959.

"The exciting prospect is that the school will have a visible physical presence that says, 'Here is the School of Medicine,' " Hindery said. "Right now we are a collection of buildings, but as a result of this project we will have a facility to house all of our educational and instructional programs, student support services and the Dean's Office."

The new education building will include lecture halls, seminar rooms, small classrooms and small group learning areas, simulation labs, a student center, as well as admissions, financial aid, counseling and other student services.

In a letter to all students, Bauer said the new building will "create state-of-the-art instructional resources that will merge the high-tech future of medical education with the inspiring and welcoming traditions of individual attention to students of the Stanford School of Medicine."

The plan also includes an overhaul of the entire Lane Building, including the two floors of Lane Library. The library will be updated to reflect changes in technology and the curriculum and will have expanded seating areas, study carrels and access to information technology for students, Hindery said.

In addition, the plan calls for renovations of portions of the Alway and Grant buildings to provide upgraded space for research laboratories. The basement, first and second floors of the Alway Building will undergo remodeling, as will the laboratory space on the basement and first floors of the Grant Building. The Dean's Office, now located on the first floor of the Alway building, will be vacated to provide administrative space for individual departments, Hindery said.

The project encompasses some 240,000 square feet of space, including 52,000 square feet that will open up as programs move into the new Center for Clinical Sciences Research (CCSR) building in the spring. Some 10 departments will benefit from the remodel, including comparative medicine, functional restoration, medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, pathology, pediatrics, radiology and surgery, O'Brien said.

The project funding is expected to come from various sources, Hindery said. The school plans to assume some $30 million in debt for the construction and to raise an additional $105 million in private funding, he said. The balance will come from school and department reserves, he said.

The project will satisfy requirements of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national licensing body for medical schools, which has criticized the school for inadequacies in instructional facilities and the library, Hindery said. It will also satisfy demands from students and some faculty members who have been actively lobbying over the past year for major facility improvements.

"I think it's a very exciting plan," said Michael Ennen, a fourth-year medical student who has been involved in the planning process. "From the plan I've seen, I get the sense that the school is trying to promote a cultural revival in education. I think the school is trying very hard to think about its priorities, think about what is important to us as a school and align its resources with that. That's hard to do, and I take my hat off to them for doing it."

Ennen noted that the new plan also comes at a time when the school is planning a major overhaul of its curriculum.

"Those things are happening simultaneously, so you have the opportunity to design a space that takes into consideration a re-thought curriculum, with all the new information technology. It's a golden opportunity," he said.

The project, called the GALE project -- for Grant, Alway, Lane and Edwards -- will be executed in five phases. After installation of the basic infrastructure, construction on the new library is expected to start in the fall of 2001, said O'Brien. During library construction, the collection will be housed in modular units nearby and in some off-site locations, he said. Demolition and replacement of the Edwards Building then will begin in the summer of 2002, he said. Phases four and five will involve renovations of the Grant and Alway buildings, respectively.

Before construction can begin, the project must pass muster with the city of Palo Alto. Because the land is within the city limits, the project is not subject to Santa Clara County's general use permit, which governs development on the university campus, Hindery said. SR